WASHINGTON

Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., responded Wednesday to a Gazette request for his reaction to a tweet by President Donald Trump that has been widely characterized as racist.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump tweeted Sunday, apparently referring to four freshman House Democrats who are women of color and have been highly critical of Trump.

Steil, himself a freshman Republican from the 1st Congressional District, voted against a House resolution condemning the president’s words Tuesday.

In a telephone town hall Tuesday night, Steil expressed frustration that personal attacks were keeping lawmakers from doing their jobs.

The Gazette on Wednesday asked if Steil agreed with the tweet, whether he thinks it was racist and where he draws the line.

In a response, Steil is quoted as saying, in part, “The president’s arguments are at their strongest when he focuses on policy, and his tweet is not my style. I try to stay focused on the work of the American people. We must work together to achieve results for Southeast Wisconsin and avoid the negative back and forth.”

“Bryan is frustrated that we are not focusing on the work of the American people,” his spokeswoman, Sally Fox, said in another email. “When the focus is on the person, rather than the policy, it does not help the country move forward. Bryan is focused on working with his colleagues and achieving results for southeast Wisconsin. That is why his bill to combat human trafficking has 40 bipartisan cosponsors and his bill supporting small businesses passed through the House.”

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